The Lord’s Supper: 1 Corinthians

Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians assume communion to be normative for that congregation.

(1 Cor 10:16-17)  Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

(1 Cor 11:20-34)  When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! Continue reading

Perseverance: John 10 In Depth, Part 2

“They shall never perish”

“They shall never perish” is a Hebraic parallel with “I give them eternal life.” The English translations aren’t very true to the Greek. The Greek is literally —

And I give to them life eternal [aionion], and by no means they perish unto the age [aiona], and shall not [forcibly] seize anyone them out of the hand of me.

(Translation from Alfred Marshall’s Greek interlinear). Continue reading

Perseverance: John 10 In Depth, Part 1

One of the most popular prooftexts in support of the perseverance of the saints (POTS) is —

(John 10:28-29)  “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

The conclusion drawn by those favoring the Calvinistic interpretation is that Jesus says that the saved can’t be lost, the interpreters equating “snatch … out of my hand” with “be damned.” And it’s not an entirely unreasonable interpretation.

“Snatch”

However, I think the Greek gives us a different understanding. Continue reading

California Letter

Two new posts by J. James Albert at “California Letter.”

Perspective and standing with God

The New Birth

I’ll not always post notices of new posts at “California Letter” over here. To follow his posts, generally about two a month, you should subscribe by email or RSS feed at California Letter.

For those of you new to this site, Br Albert has for many years written a grace-centered newsletter that’s had an important impact within the one-cup Churches of Christ and beyond. I decided his voice needed to be heard on the internet, and I volunteered to be his webmaster as he continues to teach a gospel of grace. There’s a full year of back issues posted, and I hope to extend the post back further over time.

Perseverance: Hebrews 10, Part 2

Why do we fall?

Why is it that we fall away when we deliberately continue to sin? Because “no sacrifice for sins is left.” This is obviously the opposite of 10:18, which says that once we’ve been saved, “there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” You see, Jesus died but once. We enter with him into his death but once — at baptism. We are then resurrected with him — and can no longer re-enter his death. Continue reading

The Fork in the Road: The Path to Safety

A reader asked,

It would seem to me that we should try to worship, etc. as closely as possible to the way they did in the NT. We would know that that was right. Why take a chance on something that at best would be questionable and at worst condemning?

To answer that question, we have to first see where the scriptures promise that we’ll find safety. The answer is found in our hymnody —

Continue reading

Perseverance: Hebrews 10, Part 1

We skip ahead to chapter 10, where we see the author recapitulate the thought of 6:4-6, but with additional explanation.

It’s important to realize that the first part of chapter 10 culminates a lengthy discussion going back to chapter 7 regarding the “once for all” and “perfect forever” nature of our salvation.

The author also concludes a midrash on Jeremiah 31, which began in Heb 8, in which Jeremiah explains how the new covenant will be superior to the Mosaic covenant. Therefore, chapter 10 begin in exultation for the wonders of the salvation we have. Continue reading